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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Draft Versus Volunteer

As we've noted, John Kline has recently been on a rampage against a purely theoretical return of the military draft. In his Strib op-ed, he says, in part:

It is outrageous that a small but vocal number of antiwar activists are willing to undermine the effectiveness and safety of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to advance their opposition to the war. While a draft might do wonders for swelling the ranks of bitter veterans who would protest U.S. foreign policy, it would do great harm to our national security.

. . .

Having seen it from both sides, I can say without hesitance that the all-volunteer force is better.

. . .

Why? Because there is no substitute for a team that is unified in purpose. Under a draft, there would be tens if not hundreds of thousands of recruits who did not want to be there, and it would harm our nation's defense by undermining the camaraderie and cohesiveness of our Armed Forces.

More than one veteran took offense at what they believed was Kline's denigration of those who served under the draft.

One Joe Green had this to say:

Kline also dishonors the many draftees who have served honorably in times of war by claiming that draftees "would harm our nation's defense by undermining the camaraderie and cohesiveness of our Armed Forces." I was a draftee during the Vietnam War. No one told me I was doing this. I wish I had known.

Kline should also remember that the last war our nation really won was fought by draftees: citizen soldiers. He should pay attention to the "citizen" part of that phrase and make an attempt to understand what that means.

And WWII veteran Alan Anderson cuts to the heart of the matter (emphasis mine):

John Kline shows a warped view of the role of the military in a democracy. As a draftee in World War II, I am offended by his assertion that a draft "might do wonders for swelling the ranks of bitter veterans."

I recall no draftees who served with me as being "bitter veterans." Senseless wars like Vietnam and Iraq produce "bitter veterans."

The ill-conceived Iraq war might have been avoided if a draft brought it home to more Americans. In a true democracy, all those qualified must be subject to a draft, rather than depending on brave volunteers.

Kline's characterization of those who suggest re-introducing the draft is indeed warped. If the U.S. mission in Iraq is central to U.S. security, then our leaders should not hestitate to ask Americans to band together in shared sacrifice for the benefit of our nation, and we the people should not hesitate to do so --- as we did during WWII. It is telling that in the case of Iraq, Kline believes that only the war's opponents could want such a thing. And as Mr. Anderson correctly points out, if serving in Iraq makes members of our armed forces bitter, that says more about the occupation and its conduct than it does about those who oppose it.

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